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Imam


Imam The word Imam appears eleven times in the quran with different meanings such as the leader (2:124), ideal (11:17), direction (15:79), and book (36:12). Literally, Imam also means symbol or indicator. Pragmatically, the word is applied in three different situations: (1) Imam is the main person who leads the sal'at (nam'az or prayer) in a jam'at (group). The Imam who conducts the five daily prayers is called Pex Imam and the Imam who conducts the Jum'ua (Friday) prayer is called Khatib. Any Muslim who, has adequate knowledge about the rules of sal'at and is otherwise fit as a pious man can be an Imam. (2) Sunnis show honour to the khalifas (caliphs) and the noted Islamic 'alims (scholars) by prefixing the word Imam to their names. (3) Shiahs use the word for different purposes but the main idea in their interpretations is that only the descendents of Hazrat Ali Ibn Talib (R) and none else can hold the position of the highest leader in the world of islam. Some sultans of Bengal adopted the title of Khalifa or Imam. [Syed Ashraf Ali]